Eating for two during pregnancy is a myth

 

You’re pregnant. Planned or not, finding out you have a little human growing inside you is one of life’s most momentous occasions. In that moment, everything changes. And once you’ve wrapped you’re head around the news, as well as feeling an overwhelming sense of joy, pregnancy can bring with it a heap of unanswered questions. 

You’re probably thinking about when to tell your family and friends, the best way to tell your boss, maternity and paternity leave, your finances, setting up the nursery, buying a stroller, planning the baby shower, your birthing plan, what baby clothes you’ll need, the lifestyle changes you’ll have to make, and the new rhythms of life that having a baby may bring. 

As you begin to research all things “pregnancy”, you’ll uncover an abundance of useful information as well as the occasional old-wives tale and pregnancy myth. There are some myths out there that have certain appeal — “eating for two” is one of them. 

Finally, you’re pregnant and can eat what you want, when you want, and how much you want! We all have our comfort foods — ice-cream, chocolate, hot chips; and now you can eat as much of these as you wish. Right?

While you may not wish to have this myth busted, refraining from “eating for two” will make for a happier pregnancy and healthier baby. Here’s why.

Gaining more weight than is recommended during pregnancy due to eating too many calories per day or having a diet that’s too high in sugar or unhealthy fats, will make it harder to lose the weight afterward as well as increase your risk of pregnancy complications. In addition, overeating during pregnancy can impact your baby’s growth and development while in the womb as well as it’s long-lasting health and wellbeing.

Furthermore, by giving in to your cravings and eating what you want, you may not be getting the nutrients you and your baby need. Key nutrients are required at various stages of pregnancy to support your health and the development of your baby. If you’re giving in to cravings or simply eating what you want, there’s a chance the food choices you’re making aren’t filled with the essential vitamins, minerals and amino-acids that sustain a healthy pregnancy. 

Instead of giving in to every whim, you could try to interpret your cravings in order to understand what nutrients your body is in need of. For example, a craving for salty foods could indicate a sodium or iodine deficiency. Sprinkle some Himalayan rock salt on your meals, drink celery juice or supplement Blackmores Professional S.S.S. to satisfy this craving. 

Another idea for staying on track and eating well throughout pregnancy, is to plan ahead by creating a weekly meal plan. Having healthy snacks on hand (at home, at work and in your handbag) for when the cravings or hunger pangs hit, will make it easier to reach for food that’s nourishing.

Maintaining a regular exercise regime throughout pregnancy, or for as long as your health practitioner suggests it is safe to do so, is another way to keep your pregnancy weight gain in check. You could also set yourself a weight gain goal (e.g. 11 to 15kg) and follow the pregnancy weight gain guidelines that suggest how many extra calories to consume during each trimester.

Being conscious of what you eat throughout pregnancy is at the crux of all of these suggestions. Understanding that “your health is your baby’s health” ought to make it easier to eat well while you’re pregnant and help you let go of the “eating for two” pregnancy myth.

Of course there’s no one solution fits all — we’re all different, and our pregnancy journeys will vary. What works for your sister, best friend or work colleague may not be right for you, so get curious, experiment, explore until you discover what works best for you.

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